How was your day at work or college? Was it useful (=giving positive results)? Did you get a lot done? Perhaps you had a lot of work to do but, for some reason, found it hard to get down to it (=start working with effort). Some days, we work effectively, finding it easy to concentrate. Sadly, not all days are like this! In this post we look at the language that we use to describe good days at work and bad.
Starting with a positive phrasal verb, if you get on with a task, you work on it, making good progress:
If I give Maisie a piece of work to do, I know she’ll just get on with it.
Staying with the positive, we often use the adjective productive to describe a day – or a part of a day – in which we achieve a lot:
I had a very productive morning.
We had a really productive meeting.
The opposite word – unproductive – is used for times when we achieve less than we would like:
I had a rather unproductive afternoon in which I failed to make any progress on either project.
There are times when we work especially hard for a long period, not stopping for breaks. To describe this, we might say that we work flat out:
He’s been working flat out all week to finish this piece of work.
We may succeed in giving all our attention to a task, working effectively to achieve a particular thing. For this, we use the adjective focused:
He’s been much more focused at work these past few months.
There’s a nice idiom in this area too. If you keep your nose to the grindstone, you work very hard for a long time:
She’ll need to keep her nose to the grindstone to get good grades.
Of course, we can’t work flat out all the time. Sometimes we work hard for several hours but then run out of steam. To run out of steam is to lose the energy or interest to continue working:
I worked well until lunch but then ran out of steam.
Another way of saying this is to say you are flagging:
I’ve been studying for six hours and I’m flagging a little. Perhaps it’s time for a coffee?
Sometimes we work less effectively because our attention is on something else – perhaps something worrying or exciting. For this, we might talk about our mind being on something:
I’m sorry, I can’t quite focus today. My mind is on other things.
I’m going on holiday tomorrow and I’m finding it hard to keep my mind on work!
Whether you’re working or studying at the moment, I hope you have a productive week.